Our Help in Ages Past
April 8, 2020
Many of us who grew up in the church grew up on songs that we call hymns. They are as varied as the people who wrote them, but there is often a strong kernel of truth or biblical metaphor that drives them. During times of joy and times of sorrow, during times of blessing and times of distress, these songs written on my heart find their way out of the file drawers of my mind to comfort me. Over these past couple of weeks, I have found myself humming one of those hymns and have shared it several times – with staff, with friends, and in virtual meetings. Here are a couple of verses from the song, “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” by Isaac Watts: (you can find the full song here):
Our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home:
Under the shadow of your throne your saints have dwelt secure; sufficient is your arm alone, and our defense is sure.
Before the hills in order stood, or earth received her frame, from everlasting you are God, to endless years the same.
Our God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come: O be our guard while troubles last, and our eternal home.
It has been helpful to me during this difficult crisis to remember that God has been our help in the past. In communion, Jesus says remember. Throughout the bible, God reminds us to remember. Specifically, God is reminding us that, in the past, he has shown himself faithful to his people during difficult times, be it a new or old enemy, a famine, plagues, or trials.
This past summer, I was hiking alone on the side of a 14’er called Mount Yale, one of many beautiful Collegiate Peaks in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. I found myself in one of those sudden mountain storms with rain, then sleet, then hail. I was up above the tree-line, and there was still snow on the ground, so I was already cold. Luckily, the area I was in was quite rocky and I was able to hide in the cleft of a large rock until the storm passed. I was reminded of Psalm 90, the Psalm on which Watts’ hymn was based:
Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. – Psalm 90:1-2
It is good to remember, and to hide in the shadow of his wing, in the cleft of this rock, under the shadow of his throne, under the guard or his strong right hand. As you pray today, invite the strength of God to be your strength, the shelter of God to be your covering, and the power of God to be your salvation.
Also, please pray for everyone who is still working given their work has been deemed essential.